Sunday October 31, 2010 | Transfrontier Africa | Michael Scholl

Sunday October 31, 2010

Dear Diary, 

I just got home and I am exhausted, but I am still writing to tell you what happened. Don’t you feel lucky? All right, so saturday morning I woke up feeling okay, although I was sad we were leaving. I quickly went to take a shower, since the water was working again. My last shower there. I went back to the room and closed my luggage with (I hope) everything in it. I went down again, while I tried to carry my luggage down to where the fire of yesterday night was. Everybody had a sad look in their face, not wanting to say goodbye, but knowing we all had to. Michael of course wanted a last group picture with us all in it, Goosy included. We all smiled for the camera and started saying our goodbyes. I always feel akward at goodbyes never knowing what to say or what to do. I finally just followed Elena and Solanges example by giving Craig and John a hug. I was sad I was leaving but didn’t know how to express it. Elena was crying and I think that Solange was at the verge of it to. I just stood there, thinking about everything. I was going to miss this place. The irony of it was that at that moment I was feeling great. Just as we were leaving. The goodbyes continued until the mini bus that was parked a few meters away, with our driver of the day. I sat in the passenger seat, since last time I had gotten car sick. The goodbyes continued, but we could see that the driver was anxious to be on his way so we waved as we left. My thoughts wandered while we were in the car. It was a six hour drive, with a few breaks in between. Elena desperately wanted to get a jambai, a African drum, so we stopped in one of those local markets for her. I have to say that I was tempted to buy one to, because it was so beautifull. The colors were vivid and you could see it was hand painted. It was to big to put in the luggage though, and I knew I wouldn’t use it in the end, and it would just stay in my room as a decoration. I instead bought a book holder with elephants on it. Atleast I would use that one. 

Later, in the bus Elena dicoverd that her new favorite instrument had a guest staying in it. A spider she called Jimmy. We kept on driving in silence, and again I was day-dreaming. It may have been actual dreaming, diary, because I can’t remember what was going through my head. We stopped a hour or so later, to admire an amazing view that was famous in South Africa. We could see a river, from high up, and the water was so clear, with cliffs surrounding the whole view. Again, Michael instisted on taking pictures, which I didn’t mind at all, seeing how beautiful it all was, but we had to keep on moving if we didn’t want to miss the plane. We kept on driving and driving and although a lot of people were complaining about how long it was, my thoughts kept me occupied and I drifted of again. We stopped for food, and I ate a hamburger that completly disgusted me. We kept on driving after and an hour or so later we arrived at the airport. This time I checked-in my guitar, because I couldn’t be bothered chugging it around with me the whole time. Passing security was crazy. The cue was so long that there was barely enough space for people to stand in the cue. We did eventualy pass, but the security had taken so much time to pass that we couldn’t look around in the airport. We directly went to the gate. The funny thing is that they check your passeport and ticket so many times. First at check-in, then security, once before we get to our gate, and once 10 meters further from the last check. Michael was saying that it made a lot of sense since he could have transformed into a terrorist during those 10 meters, so it was important that they check, to be sure. We all joked around with the security, while we waited to get into the plane. We finaly did and so we sat down in our places. Elena next to the window, Solange in the middle and me next to the aisle. Michael, Emilio and Hugo sat in the row of seats infront of us. We were in Dubai before I knew it. I had watched a movie, and slept a bit and we were already there. We were again in the same airport as when coming but the part that changed was that my ears were blocked. It had happened to me before, when I went with the airplane, but none of the techniques that usually helped worked. Chewing gum, closing all airholes and blowing, opening my jaw to the maximum… Nothing, and it also really hurt, so I decided to go to the pharmacie in the airport. They gave me some nose spray. At first I thought the women had misunderstood me, but she insisted that it worked. So I paid, and used it straight away. Nothing. Ears still buzzing and hurting. I wasn’t surprised though. When I went out of the pharmacy, the only person that had waited for me was Michael. We found a meeting  point for later at the gate, and so I went of to find a library, since I had only one book left for the plane. Before I even got there I came across Solange and Elena, who were also looking around in the shops. We went around looking at all the things they had. The technology shop was the one that Elena was the most eager to go to, because she wanted to buy the watch/phone she had seen on the duty free magazine they had on the plane. It was a phone that could be attached on the wrist like a watch. They had two kinds in the shop, but she didn’t like them much and wanted to wait to buy them in the plane, so we thanked the guy and left the shop. We wandered around a bit more, before we finaly got to the book shop. I immediately went for the english books, but the choice wasn’t great. Almost all teenage books I had read, and the ones for adult just didn’t captivate my interest. I finally settled on a Danielle Steel book called “Northern Light”, since it was a best-seller and I knew some people who read her books. I bought the book and we slowly made our way to the gate. When we finaly got there we saw Michael looking at his pictures and movies with Hugo and Emilio on the floor of the airport. I was just so tired, that I took my bag, put it on the floor and laid down, with my head on the bag. I woke up probably 20 minutes later because Michael told me we had to go, freezing because the floor was as cold as marble. We passed one security check, then waited for another 15 minutes in another room, and then again we had to pass a passeport control to finaly get into the plane. The flight went by fast, since I was mostly sleeping or watching a movie. I just see it as a blur of flights. All mixing together, even though it was just this morning. We did finaly land in Zürich, and we made our way to the train station. It was when Elena went to buy her train ticket that she let her Jambai fall and that one of the foots of the drums broke into pieces. In South Africa, people would have stopped and helped. Here, they walked past without even glancing at Elena. Welcome back to Switzerland. We were already all missing South Africa and I could see it from our faces. While we were waiting for the train Emilio started talking to one of his friends that coincidentally also was taking the same train as us, which finaly did arrive. The train trip went by quite fast, since we spent the time looking at Michaels pictures and movies, and laughing at the memories they gave us. We were making use of the time we had left together, how short it may have been, but the inevitable happened, and we arrived in Lausanne. Emilio stayed on the train since he was going to Morges, so we said goodbye there. All the rest came out and stood on the plateform, exactly like 2 weeks earlier. I knew my mom was going to come, so I had to hurry, so I said goodbye, however difficult it was. I again didn’t really know what to do, because when I say goodbye, I never really realise what is happening, and it is only later that I understand that I may never see those people again. This time that wasn’t the case, since we had promised each other that we would meet the first chance we got and exchange pictures and souvenirs. I hurried to get to where my mom was picking me up. I was freezing, because here in Switzerland it is a just a bit colder then it was in South Africa. My luggage wouldn’t roll properly, because one of the wheels was broken, so I would have to stop every 10 meters, struggling, but here, no one helped me. I did finaly get to the pick-up point, but she hadn’t arrived yet. I sat down on my luggage, outside, coughing, because of the effort I had made to get there. I was actually coughing so hard that I felt like my lungs were going to come out. Surprisingly the didn’t, although I think I did get close. My mom did finaly arrive and I was so reliefed that I burst into tears. I usually didn’t get home sick, but then and there I was happy to see my mom, because when a person gets sick, they always turn into a child again. My mom was very worried about me seeing me in such a state, because she hadn’t realised I was still sick. We drove home and during the car ride I explained the summary of what had happened. When I got home, my mom sent me to take a bath, because of the dirt layer I had on me and later I went to sleep, but not without writing in you what has happened!

Dear Diary, I have mixed feelings about being back here. I will tell you what I feel when I know.

written by Diane Danneels (International Baccalaureate IB Class of 2012 student)

© / Michael Scholl Copyright 2012 for TransFrontier Africa and Craig Spencer